Horsham’s fast start helps Green and Whites beat rivals Gillingham

Horsham RFC on the attack. Photo by Richard Ordidge
Horsham RFC on the attack. Photo by Richard Ordidge

Horsham pulled off one of their best wins of the season away to Gillingham Anchorians.

Gillingham are a powerful side who have beaten Horsham in league and cup on four successive occasions since their return to the London leagues last season.

With both sides having fallen out of the running for the two promotion places over recent weeks the pressure was off and Horsham’s young side, including debutants Tom Johnson and Jerry Downey, made a fast start scoring three tries in the first half.

Horsham coach Nick Stocker said: “I am very pleased with the performance which was perhaps our best of the season, especially the first 60 minutes, even with a number of key players missing.

“We played with great intensity, with good patterns to our play. Our defensive alignment and tackling was good. Our handling was safe, we were coming from depth and we were playing good 15 man rugby.”

Jonny Whiting made a strong break following the kick-off then Gillingham came back with a penalty.

Horsham’s response was immediate and when awarded a penalty in front of the posts, Will Bell was directed to kick for touch, and Horsham went on to score an excellent team try, finished off by James Whiting on 13 minutes.

Four minutes later Jonny Goward added a second try following good handing between forwards and backs.

Jonny Ordidge then powered through the centre, shrugging aside the attempted tackles of a couple of defenders to cross the line.

The Green and Whites held out with some resilient defence to go into half time with a 15-3 lead.

Ryan Grover scored Horsham’s bonus point try before the home side found a way back into the game.

Downey produced a try-saving tackle as Gillingham piled the pressure on Horsham.

With time running out Gillingham scored a converted try followed by the sound of the final whistle, allowing a relieved Horsham contingent to celebrate a hard-earned win.

Horsham: Talbot, Fisher, Barber (Fairs 65), Grover, Goward (Green 62), Price, Smith (Pirt 68), Jonathan Whiting, Rush, Johnson, Downey, Ordidge, Taylor, Bell, James Whiting